Tesla Inc. stock skyrocketed Tuesday as one analyst said the shares’ ongoing rally is “extremely unusual” in the automobile and industrial sectors.
Tesla shares TSLA, +6.15% rose more than 6% and traded as high as $545.90, on track for a record close. The stock fell in the three prior sessions.
Tesla stock has doubled in six months and gained 190% since its trough in June “baffling many investors,” said Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi in a note Tuesday.
Sacconaghi, who rates Tesla stock the equivalent of neutral, said he looked back 40 years at instances where similar large-cap stock moves have occurred.
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While it is not unheard of in other sectors, the sharp gain “is extremely unusual in the autos and industrial sectors,” he said, pinpointing three examples before Tesla’s run: Ford Motor Co. F, +0.55% and Daimler AG DAI, -0.35% in the wake of the global financial crisis, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV FCAU, -0.29% in 2017.
The aftermath of those “periods of dramatic outperformance” is mixed, Sacconaghi said, keeping his cautious stance on the stock.
“On net, we continue to believe near-term risk/reward is skewed to the downside for Tesla,” the analyst said.
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While it is “difficult to call the top on a rocket ship … we note expectations for (Tesla) appear to be rising materially, while we remain cautious on the Shanghai Gigafactory ramp dragging down margins in Q4 and Q1, seasonal softness affecting Q1 demand following subsidy eliminations in the U.S. and the Netherlands, and the potential for Model 3 cannibalization as Model Y ramps.”
Tesla shares have gained 80% in the past 12 months, compared with advances of 25% and 19% for the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.16% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. DJIA, -0.19% The stock has been on a tear since mid-December, hitting a string of records along the way.
Tesla said last week it will report fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 29. Analysts polled by FactSet expect the car maker to report adjusted earnings of $1.65 a share on sales of $6.9 billion. That would compare with adjusted earnings of $1.93 a share on sales of $7.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Tesla over the long U.S. weekend pushed back against a petition filed with U.S. safety regulators that alleges Tesla vehicles, including its best-selling Model 3, can suddenly and unintentionally accelerate.
In a blog post, Tesla characterized the petitioner as a short seller and said that in “every single incident” where the driver claims sudden, unintended acceleration, “we confirmed that the car operated as designed. In other words, the car accelerates if, and only if, the driver told it to do so, and it slows or stops when the driver applies the brake.”
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Most of the incidents included in the petition have been discussed with the NHTSA, and in every case reviewed with the agency “the data proved the vehicle functioned properly,” Tesla said.